The Color Timer Interview With High-End Episodic Colorist – Rory Gordon

May 4, 2023

In the first episode of a new podcast, colorist Vincent Taylor chats with Colorist Rory Gordon about painting, color clocks, & color science.


Editor’s Note: With this Insight, Mixing Light is proud to introduce a new Contributor to our roster – colorist Vincent Taylor. Kali Bateman recently interviewed him in Mixing Light’s long-form interview series, be sure to watch it to learn more about Vincent.

Mixing Light has teamed up with Vincent to executive produce and distribute his new 12-episode podcast series, The Color Timer. Watch the trailer here. We hope you enjoy this partnership!

Fine art, color clocks, applied color science, tasting vectorscopes,and the psychophysics of displays

Rory Gordon is one of the most experienced HDR colorists working in television and streaming, with experience finishing over 120 episodes in HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

During our 15-minute conversation, Rory articulates very clearly her process and love of color. She’s also created amazing artwork, including a series of physical clocks that explore the color timeline of films and display those color changes around the clock’s face!

External Links & Selected Published Technical Papers

  • Website:
  • Instagram: @auroragordon
  • IMDb:
  • Paper: The Color Compass: A Color Navigation System in a Dynamic Deliverable World – One of the peer-reviewed mentioned in this podcast (R. Gordon, “The Color Compass: A Color Navigation System in a Dynamic Deliverable World,” in SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, vol. 130, no. 7, pp. 31-41, Aug. 2021, doi: 10.5594/JMI.2021.3087806.)
  • Paper: A Case for Archival Episodic Content as Technical Evaluative Material – “the archive of ten episodes per season or more represents a treasure trove of naturally occurring perceptual phenomena. This paper presents guidelines and examples for harvesting challenging images from real production and ways in which these images can be analyzed to further a better end-user experience.”  (A. Gordon, “A Case for Archival Episodic Content as Technical Evaluative Material,” in SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, vol. 130, no. 10, pp. 16-23, Nov.-Dec. 2021, doi: 10.5594/JMI.2021.3117095.)
  • Article: HDR’s Creative Impact – This article is a summary of Rory’s technical paper on HDR, “As a senior colorist who works primarily on television and streaming content of all genres, Gordon emphasizes that it is “really important” to comprehend the engineering process, and the technical side of the creative work that people like her do every day.”

Terms and acronyms mentioned in this Insight

  • Synesthesia – “a perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.” (via Wikipedia)
  • LUT – A Look-Up Table (LUT), when used with digital video images, transform individual RGB values from one value to another. The nature of the transformation can vary. LUTs can move pixel values between color models; they can apply a contrast curve; they can impose a particular ‘Look’ on the image; or any number of other tasks.
  • HDR – High Dynamic Range (HDR) displays are defined by having higher simultaneous contrast ratios than traditional displays – in the range of ~1,000,000:1 (or higher). The brighter highlights, with simultaneously near-black blacks, closely mimic the simultaneous contrast ratio of the human eye – resulting in more life-like images providing greater artistic freedom for moving picture creatives.
  • SDR – Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) displays have a traditional contrast ratio below ~5,000:1 associated with legacy CRT television sets, computer displays, and bulb cinema projectors.
  • SMPTE – The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers is the US standards body for television and film professionals.

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– Vincent

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